Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! – Psalm 3:7-8
Does trouble drive you to God or from God?
In Psalm 3, King David is facing a severe trial: the apparently successful insurrection of his son Absalom. He has had to flee his palace and his capital. Many men he counted as friends have turned against him.
What does David do? He takes his trial straight to the Lord. He recognizes—and we ought to be humble enough to recognize with him—that any life-transforming change, any ultimate solution, any lasting success is owing ultimately and finally to the Lord.
Who can bring deliverance from the enslavement of habitual sin? Who can set captives free? Who can take the burdens from people’s backs? Only and ultimately the Lord. Whether we’re bothered by a mere nuisance or we’ve been struck by awful tragedy, God alone brings deliverance.
Even when David’s foes surround him, he doesn’t try to take vengeance into his own hands. He recognizes that God strikes the winning blow, because it is God who is the one true source of lasting victory. So David cries out, “Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God!” because he knows that “salvation belongs to the LORD.”
Notice, too, that David has more than deliverance for himself in view: “Your blessing be on your people,” he prays. Trials have a tendency to drive us in on ourselves—away from God and away from others. It’s so easy only to pray for ourselves when we are struggling. But David reminds us that even in life’s valleys, we are traveling together and need to keep our brothers and sisters in mind and in our prayers—and not only those who already believe, for God’s salvation is for any who would cry out to Jesus for help. Our neighbors, our colleagues, the stranger in line with us as we wait for our coffee—they all need this deliverance just as much as any of us.
If you desire victory in your life, you must first recognize, like David, that you can have none apart from God’s help. And if you are going be an instrument of grace to the people God has placed around you, you must also look beyond your own needs and call out for their blessing and deliverance to the only one who is mighty enough to grant it. He alone is our eternal hope, our great gift of salvation, the source of satisfaction for our every longing—in the valleys as much as on the mountaintops.